Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Vacation Reading

The Sunday

Just one of the many fabulous parts of vacation is the huge amount of time I can devote to reading. Most of my vacation reading takes place during the car trip; in this case, the trip was a total of 16 hours round-trip, and I probably read for 10-12 of those hours. Dr. H. likes to listen to an audiobook; my teenager reads, sleeps, and listens to his iPod (sometimes all at the same time); and the younger two alternate between watching DVDs and playing.

Growing up, car trips were much different. For one thing, my father liked to wake us up around 2 a.m. to get started on a trip. In those days before carseats and mandatory seatbelts, we kids had the luxury of traveling with the seats folded down in the back of our big blue station wagon, sunk deep in a pile of blankets and pillows. Also, my mother heavily dosed us with Dramamine (even though we weren't prone to car sickness), so we slept pretty much the whole way, awakening every few hours for a groggy rest stop. When we did clear out of our drug-induced stupor, we sang. My parents would start with old college fight songs (University of Illinois) and head into "Clementine," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," and "Waltzing Matilda" (which I learned around age 12, by the way, is the correct title for what I always thought was "Walt and Matilda"). We rarely stopped to eat; my mother packed sandwiches, oranges, and possibly a treat or two. I desperately wanted to toss the ham sandwich out the window then in favor of McDonalds back then; now the thought of McDonalds makes me cringe.

But I digress. While I do have fond memories of traveling as a child, truthfully, we kids probably slept the majority of our trips and my mother probably sat in her seat reading while my father drove. Just like we do now. And so I managed to read four books during our four day vacation: John Grisham's The Appeal (my review here), the hilarious Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark (my review here), Alice McDermott's lovely Child of My Heart (my review here), and the beautiful Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson, which I've not yet reviewed. Except for the Grisham novel, the reading was exceptionally good and satisfying.

I'm now reading Mildred Walker's Winter Wheat, which so far is wonderful--very reminiscent of Willa Cather's My Antonia. This week I'm planning to get my TBR list finished and up on my blog solely so that I can have the satisfaction of publicly crossing off books as I read them. I'm not sure what that says about me, except that I'm one of those people who likes to cross things off of lists. Probably I will even list books that I've read recently for the sheer pleasure of the crossing-out process.


Terri said...

Oh yes, I remember those car trips and singing songs, playing games, driving my parents crazy!

I'll look for your review of Astrid and Veronika, I liked that book when I read it last year. Cheers!

Megan said...

There is something very lovely about making public to do lists and then cross them off for all to see. I know that making my goals public helps me be accountable and I love that. I am completely unself-motivated so I trick myself into believing that my readers actually care about my accomplishments (hey, maybe they really do, but I doubt it!)

I really loved your post today. One thing that I decided when I started having kids was that we weren't going to have to DVD player in the car because I wanted road trips to be about singing and talking and resenting how close your are sitting to your sibling. But the truth of that matter is that we haven't really made it on many road trips.

I am so jealous of your productivity. I just remembered an interesting story. I used to always read in the car and someone said to me once "I don't know how you can do that, it makes me sick." And boom, I could no longer read in cars. I don't know if I got sick before and never noticed or what? Now I can't even look at a map or think very hard. Who would have though, hard thinking? I sure wouldn't have. Anyway, thanks again for your post. I know you are about to pay me to be quiet so I will save you the money and just shut up!

Amy said...

Wow! You accomplished a lot for of reading!

I can relate to publicly crossing books off your list. It's very satisfying.

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) said...

Wow! Four books in four dayw! I'm impressed. I really enjoyed your memories of old family vacations. It took me back to mine. The world was such a different place then. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Actually I like vacations becos I can read as much as I can in that time! Relaxing with a book is the best think that can happen.

Kara said...

I remember those road trips as a child - my dad woke us up at the crack of dawn too. I remeber one trip where I decided to memorize Twas the Night Before Christmas and recited it all the way to Florida - I bet my parents wanted to kill me - LOL!!! said...